By Kiara Davies
A Durham University Law and Politics graduate has given nearly £40,000 to support art at the University.
Richard Roberts studied at Durham University in the early 1980s, before qualifying as a solicitor. He is now Director and co-owner of Gedye and Sons, which is based in Cumbria and at the Old Bailey in Durham.
Last year he funded the prizes for the inaugural Durham University Student Art Prize. His donation is going to sponsor the Prize for the next 12 years.
Mr Roberts, who lives in Durham city centre, said: “Although I grew up in a house with virtually nothing on the walls, I have always had a strong desire to acquire original works of art depicting everything from views from familiar fells through memory jogging scenes to the contemplative or the surreal.
“Art provides a solace, and an escape, a point at which to start creatively imagining, a memory trigger, it can provide humour or sadness. I want to encourage students to relax by being creative or to enjoy the creative product of fellow students, to stop and take time out to creatively imagine, to allow one’s thoughts to wander and create.
“In setting up the Student Art Prize I wanted to create something commensurate with the University’s world standing, hence prizes totalling £3,000, and after last year’s success I am very pleased to sponsor it for the next 12 years.”
Last year’s Student Art Prize had the theme “Diversity” and was won by Alice Stubbings, a law undergraduate at St Mary’s College for her painting ‘Hands of Acceptance’. Shortlisted entries are currently being displayed outside the University’s Bill Bryson Library.
The theme of this year’s Student Art Prize is “Heroism”. Students are invited to interpret the theme however they choose and submit works in any form of art, including photography, film and sculpture.
The winning entry will receive £1,500 and their piece will be added to the University’s art collection. There are also prizes of £1,000 for second, £500 for third, £100 each for two highly commended entries and £250 for a people’s vote winner.
The deadline is in February, with shortlisting taking place in March and the winner announced in June.
Image: Hands of Acceptance by Alice Stubbings via Durham University